Fear of heights is one of the most common fears. It can help us assess situations and circumstances and make wise choices. Phobias take fear and magnify it many times until there is no way to reason with it. Acrophobia is the fear of heights. It may seem irrational, but it is definitely dangerous.
Some can look out over the checkerboard of farmland and be amazed at the sheer beauty they see. Some gaze down on mountain peaks and are in awe of the snowcaps viewed from an entirely new view. Some can climb trees and enjoy the neighborhood from their tree top perch. Others can’t.
For the acrophobe there is nothing better than firm soil underneath their feet. Tall buildings can be a problem as can a trip to a mountain summit. Even stepladders can be a challenge.
The Cause of Heightened Acrophobia
It is firmly believed that virtually all animals have a fear of falling. This may be one fear that we are born with. Like other phobias it may be possible to learn a greater expression of the fear, but there is panic among virtually all animals if there is the possibility of falling. Consider a cat stuck in a tree. If it weren’t afraid of heights it would simply climb down without fear of falling. Even though it is capable of this feat there can be a long period of time before the cat makes the decision to come down on its own.
With humans, being afraid of heights is accented by the fear of falling and can be triggered by something as seemingly insignificant as climbing stairs. Many who have a phobia of heights may purchase a ranch style home with everything on one level. They may refuse to fly and do not like escalators at the local mall. They may be fearful of hiking and amusement rides are not amusing to them in the least. Panic in a place of higher elevation can be a dangerous scenario for the acrophobe and those that love them. The acrophobe runs the risk of hurting themselves in this environment.
Fear of Heights Symptoms
Diagnosing Your Height Phobia
Those who have Acrophobia may have one or more of the following signs in situations where height is an issue.
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- Elevated body temperature
- Racing heartbeat
- High blood pressure
- Extreme dizziness
- The powerful sense of a loss of control
- The sense of being in the midst of an extremely dangerous situation
It should be noted that some of these signals can even be present when the subject of heights is brought up in the acrophobes presence.
Overcoming the Fear of Heights
One of the least suggested ways to overcome the phobia of heights is to simply avoid situations where elevation would be an issue. Mountains would be avoided as well as two story homes. This really is no different than trying to avoid dogs if you are a cynophobe.
The best way to overcome your fear is to work at controlling the symptoms. This may include…
- Breathing exercises
- Relaxation techniques
- Other behavior therapies
- Having trusted friends to help
Facing fears is one of the most difficult things anyone with a phobia can do. It is much easier to simply stay away from whatever you think might harm you. However, when you face your fears you may likely gain the courage needed to enjoy many other aspects of living.
When you find yourself in an alevated location do you experience some of the symptoms of the acrophobia? What lengths will you go to in avoiding high places? How have you dealt with your fear?
Other names given to the fear of heights include:
- Phobia of heights
- High level fear
- Phobia of elevation
- Fear of high levels
- Fear of height
- Height fear
- High level fear